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Debo Band Hits Ethiopian Groove

Debo Band (Courtesy Debo Band)

Debo Band performing with their Ethiopian dancers (Courtesy Debo Band)

Debo Band calls itself a nod to the big bands of the 1930s-70s that flourished under Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

But then, Debo band goes several steps further.

Melding traditional East African polyrhythms, classic American soul and funk, and the layered instrumentation of Eastern European brass bands, to form a sound that is a jubilant reinvention of music that once rocked Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Debo Band (Amael Tesfaye)

Debo Band (Amael Tesfaye)

I recently sat down with Debo Band’s founder, Danny Mekonnen. We talked about how a band born in the loft spaces and church basements of Boston is making its way back to Africa.

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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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